The Electronic Software Association (ESA) has stated that the upcoming Electronics Entertainment Expo 2022 will, as with previous years, be not be held in-person in response to the still-ongoing global pandemic. Despite the widespread proliferation of vaccines, the hyper-contagious Omicron variant is still causing thousands of infections a day. As such, the event will likely be held online-only for the second year in a row. Time will tell if this becomes a long-term trend for E3 going forward.
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022,” the ESA advised in a statement to GamesBeat. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
A digital-only event for 2022 was not always going to be the plan. After moving last year’s E3 online, the event’s organisers stated that they were hoping for an in-person, more traditional E3 in 2022. Unfortunately, they couldn’t foresee a new, even more contagious variant of the virus ripping through the USA and many other countries. Currently, the upcoming Games Developers Conference planned for late March 2022 has not been deterred and is planning to hold an in-person event, in spite of potential health risks.
In the name of public health, the ESA is making the right move by refraining from holding an in-person E3 this year. Last year’s E3 demonstrated that an online-only event can absolutely work. By not hosting booths and selling merchandise, the ESA is missing out on a huge chunk of the their regular revenue sources. Still, if it prevents another super-spreader event, then making the show online is a good thing.
We will have to wait and see what E3 will look like in 2022. As per the statement from the ESA, the organisation is “nonetheless excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon“.